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About Eclipse Tours

An excerpt from "Heart of the Rio Grande" by Gene Autrey

“The stars at night are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas”

 

Ring of Fire Expeditions (ROFE) is the longest consecutive astronomical tour organization in the United States. ROFE specializes in astro-tourism since 1970 with expeditions organized and led by Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society and arranged by Direct Travel, Inc.

These include tours to observe such events as Halley’s Comet, the Leonid meteor shower, transits of Venus and Mercury across the Sun, spacecraft reentries, Northern Lights, solar eclipses, grazing occultations, and occultations of stars by minor planets.

Our ROFE security team at Batman, Turkey for the 1999 total solar eclipse

The number of eclipse tours listed that we have completed are for separate solar eclipses, not just individual programs. We are a public outreach effort of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society led by amateur astronomers and welcome all persons who are interested in astronomy and the natural sciences. You do not need to have a science background or any prior experience to join us!

Some expeditions have challenges which we do our best to work around. For example, the photo to your left shows a military escort for our team in Turkey in 1999.

We do our best to witness the power and glory of a solar eclipse,

Leonid Meteor fireballs at Beijing Astronomical Observatory 1999. P. Maley photo.
Comet Hale-Bopp. P. Maley photo.
Mt. Etna in eruption. Photo by P. Maley 2001

While most RING OF FIRE total solar eclipse expeditions travel to the center line to obtain maximum totality, we sometimes have a small secondary expedition to observe near the edge of the path of totality. We also observe annular eclipses and will observe either from the edge where Baily’s Beads phenomena are wonderfully prevalent, or the center line. We strive to keep the group sizes reasonable; sometimes the overall demand exceeds our expectations. For our larger expeditions we conduct a site survey (when possible) in order to obtain the best observing locations, with tour group safety as our primary concern. Direct Travel (formerly Hanssen Direct Travel) handled all expeditions beginning in 1977. Direct Travel, Inc then took over in 2017.

 

SOLAR ECLIPSES I HAVE CONDUCTED

The following is list of all the solar eclipses I have attempted.  The formal Ring of Fire Expeditions number is listed in the column to the right. At the urging of colleagues I am now including partial eclipses which I do not count in my list of historical expeditions.  Many annular and total eclipses were observed from the edge where Baily’s Beads science was attempted.   The ‘eclipse type’ below is the resultant eclipse where I attempted observation. For example, if the eclipse was total and I was not able to get to the zone of totality, I attempted observation as close as I could get to the location of totality. In that case I would list it as partial.  This was especially difficult in my early years where I was not able to afford travel. The location is the name of the closest town, named village. The NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society eclipse team is represented by the Texas flag. If you see this flag at an eclipse, it is probably RING OF FIRE EXPEDITIONS.

NUMBERDATEECLIPSE TYPELOCATION OBSERVED
19/20/60PARTIALLOS ANGELES, CA USA
27/20/63PARTIALSAN ANTONIO, TX USA
35/9/67PARTIALEDINBURG, TX USA
49/11/69PARTIALHOUSTON, TX USA
53/7/70TOTALVALDOSTA, GA USA
62/25/71PARTIALPARIS, FRANCE
77/10/72TOTALCAP CHAT, QUEBEC, CANADA
812/24/73ANNULARACAPULCO, MEXICO
912/13/74PARTIALHOUSTON, TX USA
105/11/75PARTIALATHENS, GREECE
1110/23/76TOTALMELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
1210/12/77TOTALLAKE GUATAVITA, COLOMBIA
132/26/79TOTALLAKE WINNIPEG, CANADA
142/16/80TOTALKENYA
158/10/80PARTIALHOUSTON, TX USA
167/20/82PARTIALLONDON, UK
176/11/83TOTALBANGIL, JAVA, INDONESIA
185/30/84TOTAL-ANNULARATLANTA, GA USA
1911/22/84TOTALKWIKILA, PAPUA NEW GUINEA
205/19/85PARTIALANCHORAGE, AK USA
2110/3/86PARTIALHOUSTON, TX USA
223/29/87TOTAL-ANNULARLIBREVILLE, GABON
239/23/87ANNULARTAIYUAN, CHINA
243/7/89PARTIALSCOTTSDALE, AZ USA
257/22/90PARTIALHONOLULU, HI USA
261/15/91ANNULARNORTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
277/11/91TOTALSANTIAGO IXCUINTLA, MEXICO
281/4/92ANNULAROTTA ISLAND, TRUK
295/21/93PARTIALPHOENIX, AZ USA
305/10/94ANNULARLENEXA, KS USA
3111/3/94TOTALTACNA, PERU
324/29/95ANNULARPUINAHUA, PERU
3310/24/95TOTALPINAHAT, INDIA
3410/12/96PARTIALLONDON, UK
353/9/97TOTALDARHAN, MONGOLIA
362/26/98TOTALWESTPUNKT, CURACAO
378/22/98ANNULARJOHORE BARU, MALAYSIA
382/16/99ANNULARPERTH, AUSTRALIA
398/11/99TOTALBATMAN, TURKEY
407/31/00PARTIALANCHORAGE, AK USA
4112/25/00PARTIALHOUSTON, TX USA
426/21/01TOTALLUSAKA, ZAMBIA
4312/14/01ANNULARPUNTA ARENAS, COSTA RICA
446/10/02ANNULARTINIAN, MARIANAS ISLANDS
4512/4/02TOTALCHIBUTO, MOZAMBIQUE
465/31/03ANNULAROLAFSFJORDUR, ICELAND
4711/23/03TOTALANTARCTICA
4810/14/04PARTIALANCHORAGE, AK
494/8/05ANNULARPENONEME, PANAMA
5010/3/05ANNULARALGIERS, ALGERIA
513/29/06TOTALJALU, LIBYA
529/22/06ANNULARKOUROU, FRENCH GUIANA
533/19/07PARTIALBETHEL, AK
548/1/08TOTALDUNHUANG, CHINA
551/26/09ANNULARKEELING ISLANDS
567/22/09TOTALWUHAN, CHINA
571/15/10ANNULARGULU, UGANDA
587/11/10TOTALHIKUERU, FRENCH POLYNESIA
591/4/11PARTIALLONDON, UK
606/1/11PARTIALFAIRBANKS, AK
615/21/12ANNULARTOKYO, JAPAN
(& SPRINGDALE, UTAH)
6211/14/12TOTALMOUNT CARBINE, AUSTRALIA
635/10/13ANNULARTARAWA, KIRIBATI
6411/3/13TOTALATLANTIC OCEAN
6510/23/14PARTIALCHURCHILL, CANADA
663/20/15TOTALSVALBARD, NORWAY
673/9/16TOTALPACIFIC OCEAN, MICRONESIA
689/1/16ANNULARIYAI, TANZANIA
692/26/17ANNULARVILLA SIMPSON, CHILE
708/21/17TOTALGRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA, USA
712/15/18PARTIALSANTIAGO, CHILE
727/13/18PARTIALMELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
738/11/18PARTIALJESSHEIM, NORWAY
741/6/19PARTIALSEOUL, SOUTH KOREA
757/2/19TOTALPACIFIC OCEAN
7612/26/19ANNULARINDIA
776/21/20PARTIALGUAM
786/10/21ANNULARSOUTHERN CANADA
7912/4/21TOTALANTARCTICA
804/30/22PARTIALCHILE
8110/15/22PARTIALAKROTIRI & DEKELIA, CYPRUS
824/20/23TOTALMONTEBELLO ISLANDS, AUSTRALIA
8310/14/23ANNULARGOULDING, UTAH, USA

NORTHERN LIGHTS (AURORA) EXPEDITIONS I HAVE LED

Aurora viewing can be one of the most satisfying and exciting types of trips that one can imagine. Unlike solar eclipses seeing the Northern Lights lasts far longer and can extend over many nights.  I have been able to observe these dramatic appearances on land, sea and air. The image above was taken January 31, 2018 and is only a sample of what you can see visually even with a Full Moon present as it was on this night.

NUMBERDATEDESTINATIONMETHOD OF TRAVELAURORA SEEN??
12012 OCTOBERALASKALANDYES
22013 MARCHALASKALANDYES
32013 NOVEMBERALASKALANDYES
42014 FEBRUARYALASKALANDYES
52014 MARCHALASKALANDYES
62014 MARCHSPITZBERGENLANDYES
72015 JANUARYALASKALANDYES
82015 FEBRUARYSPITZBERGENLANDYES
92015 OCTOBERNORTH KOREAAIRYES
102015 JANUARYNORWAYSEAYES
112015 OCTOBERBHUTANAIRYES
122016 DECEMBERINDIAAIRYES
132017 FEBRUARYALASKALANDYES
142017 OCTOBERALASKALANDYES
152018 JANUARYALASKALANDYES
162018 OCTOBERALASKALANDYES
172019 MARCHALASKALANDYES
182019 OCTOBERALASKALANDYES
192020 FEBRUARYALASKALANDYES
202021 MARCHALASKALANDYES
212021 OCTOBERALASKALANDYES
222022 MARCHALASKALANDYES
232022 SEPTEMBERALASKALANDYES
242023 MARCHALASKALANDYES
252023 SEPTEMBERALASKALANDYES
262024 MARCHALASKALANDYES

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